I’m not the most playful mom on the block.
You wouldn’t know it by my irrationally exuberant response to dogs in the neighborhood. They literally barrel toward me with excitement when they see me (or maybe I barrel toward them?) Two of my favorites, Rupee and Oso, will literally put their paws over my shoulders – bear-hug style – and we will embrace like old friends right there on the street.
Since my boys are jocks, I’ve had to up my game in regard to ball sports. You can get me to play Horse with Nico, but I resist one on one, or anything that resembles what Nico refers to as “real basketball.” Come to think of it, I’m not much for “real soccer” either, which tends to frustrate Nico. “Forget it,” he’ll say after we’ve kicked the ball back and forth for a while, “this is boring.”
He was shocked and envious to discover that when Jesse’s family gets together, they play football. Like real football. And so we tried it on the beach in Bolinas this past Thanksgiving when Jesse was with me and my sister’s family. Turns out nobody wanted to be on my team because, hello, I don’t even know the rules. But weirdly, my sister totally did and my niece had actual plans when we would huddle up!
Lately though, I started noticing that they had transformed one of the tennis courts at Cedar Rose park in Berkeley into four sections – each with a tiny net and a newly painted court. I squinted to see a bunch of octogenarians with paddles in their hands – bigger than ping pong paddles, smaller than racquetball rackets. There seemed to be a wiffle ball involved.
“Pickleball!” my children informed me.
The first time we landed on the court, a woman walked up to us excitedly. “Is this your first time?” When we nodded yes, she proceeded to teach us the rules and how to score. Super helpful! “That’s part of the pickleball culture,” she told me. “If you see a new person on the court, it’s your job to teach them and welcome them.”
Pretty soon the boys got roped into doubles with a couple of elderly folks who were destroying them in the best possible way. My kids were impressed.
Why am I telling you this? I suppose because, heck, pickleball is so much fun. And you should see if there are any courts in your area and try it! Also, it’s one of the few things my boys and I genuinely love to do together. We LOVE pickleball people!
I love these old people that kick ass on the court.
I like watching my little humans play with them.
I love feeling connected to my community this way.
It’s wholesome and good + it’s not on a screen!! Hallelujah.